The leaves have fallen from the trees and there is frost lying heavy in the fields in the morning.
The sounds of hunters sighting in their rifles in the distance means it must be November. I'm sure many of you are asking yourself the same question I am: where has the year gone?
My mother always told me the years go by more quickly as we get older and I suppose I am moving into those years faster than I realized.
Thanksgiving is approaching and I know my mother will have a feast fit for a king on the table. And you know milk will be included in many of the recipes, as well as our glasses.
So, if you haven't taken the time recently, give thanks to the military, who continue to protect and defend our nation and our freedom, to family members who love you - for better or worse, in sickness and health, for richer or poorer - and our farmers. Without them, we wouldn't have the food by which to nourish and sustain our bodies.
This month, I want to talk about milk, where it comes from and how to keep it at its best after you purchase it.
Milk comes from healthy, well-fed cows
America's dairy farmers are committed to providing you and your family with wholesome milk and dairy products. This commitment starts with top-notch animal care. Farmers provide comfortable housing, nutritious feed, preventative health care programs and sanitary milk procedures to keep cows healthy.
Milk is collected and cooled in a bulk tank
Cows respond best to patient, kind handling and regular routine procedures.
Farmers milk their cows two or three times a day. The first step in providing you with safe and wholesome milk is by cleaning the cow's udder and teats to keep the milk clean. The milking machine is attached to the cow's teats, and the vacuum of the machine gently squeezes the milk out of the cow's udder.
The milk from the cows flow through sanitized pipelines directly to the bulk milk tank. Here, the milk is quickly cooled to 45 F or lower to keep it fresh. It is then transported to the processing plant in an insulated tanker truck.
Milk is tested, then tested again
Milk and dairy products undergo a number of safety, quality and sanitation procedures, including pasteurization (heating the milk to a high temperature for a short time), making dairy the most highly regulated and safest food available to you.
The dairy industry works with state and federal regulators to monitor and test dairy production, processing and marketing to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of milk and dairy products.
Every load of milk shipped from every dairy farm in the United States is tested for quality. Any milk that does not meet federal quality standards is discarded - never to reach your family.
Handling milk at home
You can help keep milk pure and safe at home by following the three "Cs":
Keep milk CLEAN.
Keep milk COVERED.
Keep milk COLD.
Did you know?
Cows eat about 90 pounds of nutritious food each day, which includes approximately 40 pounds of feed and hay and 50 pounds of silage.
Cows drink 25 to 50 gallons of water each day - nearly a bathtub full of water.
It takes from 5 to 10 minutes to milk a cow using a milking machine.
On many farms, computers are used to keep track of how much milk a cow produces each time she is milked.
Milk and dairy products are among the safest foods you can eat.
For more information about milk, dairy farming or dairy recipes, log onto www.dairyspot.com
Looking for something different to make with the Thanksgiving leftovers? This is made with all my favorites and isn't hard to make at all!
Turkey and sweet potato wrap
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 14-ounce can low-sodium, reduced-fat chicken broth
2 tablespoons diced celery
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 cups boneless cooked turkey
3/4 cup dry stuffing mix
8 (10-inch) whole wheat tortillas
2 cups shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
Sliced jalapeno peppers, for garnish (optional)
In a large saucepan, place onion, sweet potato, chicken broth, celery, salt, sage and pepper.
Bring to a simmer, over medium-low heat, and cook 10 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
Stir turkey and stuffing mix into vegetable mixture and heat 5 minutes, stirring frequently or until heated through and mixture has thickened.
Heat one tortilla in a dry skillet over medium heat; sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese and top with 1/2 cup of the filling. Allow cheese to melt for 10 seconds and remove from skillet.
Fold in two opposite edges of tortilla one inch each and roll up. Repeat with remaining tortillas. Place seam side down on serving plate. Top with sliced jalapeno peppers, if desired.
This is another recipe that can be made from ingredients ready available during the fall season. My 7-year-old brother is a pumpkin fanatic so my mother is always looking for new ways to keep it interesting for him.
She found this one and it is definitely kid-tested and approved. Enjoy!
2 cups cornmeal (divided)
1 1/2 cups white flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2cup soft butter
1 cup pumpkin, canned
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup walnuts
1 cup cranberries
Sift 1 cup cornmeal, white flour, baking powder and salt. In large bowl, beat brown sugar, butter and eggs.
Stir in the 2 1/2 cups of flour mixture. Add pumpkin, milk, walnuts and cranberries. Add the remaining cup of cornmeal. Put into 2 loaf pans.
Bake 1 hour in 350 degree oven.
Cool on rack 10 minutes before cutting.
Franck, 17, is a junior at Mifflinburg Area High School and the SUN Area Dairy Princess serving Montour, Snyder, Union and Northumberland counties.
She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Her column is published on the first Wednesday of each month.